Saturday, September 23, 2006

Surfing the Glory Part 4 (starts lower down the page)

So I was riding the cloud and having a ball. Abundant gentle lift in front and above the cloud. You can tell how easy it was up to this point because I managed to take 142 photos during the flight and you cannot fly a HG easily one handed in rough air. I was getting further and further from Burketown, but really I didn't care, even if I had to walk back through the bush for a whole day, it would be worth it for this flight. The cloud was starting to become uneven at the leading edge, in places small holes would appear and then fill back in again, probably related to the terrain it was covering I guess. I was still tracking as far left as I could and staying in front of the cloud. As the terrain under me became more and more tree covered I tracked harder and harder left to stay closer to a landing option. It was about at this point that I stopped taking photos as it became obvious I could have the cloud or a safe landing  place, but probably not both. I was tracking left  and about in the middle of the front of the leading edge  when the cloud pounced.  Suddenly It was cold and I knew exactly what that meant. The cloud very slowly and gently enveloped me, I was desperately trying to start my bloody 2 stroke so I could perhaps get out again. I gave up once I was inside the cloud. I knew I was going down fast and just held the bar to my knees and waited. I was only whited out for about 20secs and popped out directly under the cloud. I had just enough time to unzip the harness and get the legs down and as luck would have it I was directly over a gravel road. I could see the second cloud only a minute away so I landed as quickly as I could and had all my weight on the base bar when the gust front hit. I landed on a small gravel road, on a cattle grid with barbed wire fence running down each side, and perfectly too!
Once the gust front from the second and third waves had passed I took off again and flew back to the airport. I had to stay low to get good ground speed, but if I was not 100% comfortable with the Power Harness before, well I certainly am now. I landed where I took off back at the airport and packed up. Wow.
I only used about 10mins of fuel to get into the Glory and was lucky with just a  cross wind on the way home so I was actually able to self retrieve! How cool is this sport!

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